OceansEightPosterI’m a bit pissed off.

I’m going to say some uncharitable things about Ocean’s 8 and I don’t want anyone to think that it’s driven by the fact that it’s a female sequel to the Ocean’s trilogy. Let me be clear. The cast and the acting (ignoring James Corden, which I wish was as easy to do in practice as it is in theory) is first rate. Absolutely brilliant. Rhianna is a revelation here. Sandra Bullock does her best to be Clooney and her best is pretty good. And who’da thunk Anne Hathaway could be so self-deprecating? Honestly, the problem here isn’t the women.

The problem is the man who co-wrote the script and directed this garbage. Step forward, Gary Ross. Big was a long time ago, wasn’t it, Gary? Hunger Games wasn’t last year.

Danny Ocean is supposed to be dead, although no one seems to be quite sure. His sister, Debbie (Bullock), manages to convince a parole board to let her out of prison on the promise that she’ll be on the straight and narrow from now on and stay away from ne’er-do-wells. This promise is broken before she actually tastes fresh air. Seems our Deb has been hatching a plan for the last five years; a plan to pull off a mammoth heist that will earn her and her six accomplices a multi-million dollar pay day and maybe — just maybe — see her get some revenge on the guy who put her behind bars.

But wait a minute. 6 + 1 = 7. Not 8. Who could the eighth member of the gang be? The movie might as well break the fourth wall and ask this of the audience. Don’t worry, though. This is the least of the issues.

Deb starts bringing her band together. Soon we have Lou, Cate Blanchett, signed up. Lou has been watering down vodka for a living, the minx. Debbie reveals her plan to steal the Cartier Toussaint, a $150m necklace that’s been down a vault for the last fifty years and she plans to do it during a party at the Met Gala. It’s a leap from watery vodka to six pounds of Cartier diamonds, but Lou seems up to it. They’re gonna need some help, though.

They sign up fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham-Carter), necklace designer Amita (Mindy Kaling), pick-pocket Constance (Awkwafina), hacker-genius Nine Ball (Rhianna), and the fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson). Seemingly, they can contrive matters so that Rose can end up being the dresser for dumb mule Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) who is scheduled to host the Gala and convince Cartier to let the necklace out of the vault.

I bored myself typing all that out. How Gary Ross managed to stay alert enough with Olivia Milch to peck out a 110 minute script is anyone’s guess. Maybe they took shifts prodding each other awake. I hope to God the two of them weren’t driving while discussing it.

Here’s the problem. The heist is dull. It’s the fourth-best heist idea they’ve got. There’s nothing to smile at. The movie lacks the invention, the fun, the complexity, and the swagger of the predecessors, particularly¬†Eleven. Any issue is quickly resolved, regardless of the plot hole that emerges in its place. There were a couple of chuckles to be had but they were few and far between. It’s just so pedestrian and lazy. The direction feels almost non-existent. Absolutely nothing stands out to me four hours after leaving the movie theater.

When the best thing you can say about a movie is that at least it didn’t do what it was obviously warning you that it might, you know it’s going to be a slog.

What a waste.

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